Kurt Snibbe has put together a wonderful infographic on California cannabis that simply needs to be shared. The data, like most in the cannabis space, is only a portion of the bigger story, but the graphic does a wonderful job visualizing the existing impact and influence that cannabis already has on California’s agricultural economy.
The goal of the infographic is to show the scale at which cannabis cultivation in California compares with the rest of our agricultural production, both within the state and throughout the rest of the country.
Spoiler alert: California grows quite a bit of cannabis. Actually, the evidence points to the fact that California is the largest producer of cannabis each year by a long shot.
While the data is revealing, it is weighted on certain estimates that may be too high (or too low). For instance, total plant cultivation is being extrapolated from the total number of plants seized from national forests in the year 2013.
Cannabis production has likely increased since 2013, and the confiscated plants from public land do not give us an accurate idea of how many plants are being grown on private land. Some estimates of the number of California cannabis operations fall between twenty and fifty thousand. Not plants, but the farms themselves!
The estimated market size is also a product of great estimation, but once again it is not clear which side of the pendulum we are leaning when guesstimates are made. According to the United Nations World Drug Report, law enforcement confiscates between ten and twenty percent of drugs produced.
Based on the California confiscation rates in 2015 (2.64 million plants), there could have been at least 13.2 million plants grown in total, of which 11 million were not seized. These numbers are actually low on the scale of estimates.
If the number of plants grown during California’s 2015 season was above 10 million, then based on the going rate for a pound of cannabis (between 1500 and 2000 dollars), Snibbe estimates California’s cannabis production may be worth roughly 23 billion dollars, wholesale!
Once again, these estimates are very broad and deserve a more in-depth look, but Snibbe is able to get the message across. California is the leading cannabis economy in the world.
Not only do we produce more cannabis than any other single American state four times over, we also create nearly four times as much value from cannabis production as we do from milk, and five times as much money as we get from our combined almond production.
In fact, out of 47 billion dollars in cash farm receipts from 2015, Snibbe estimates that half was from cannabis production. All of the images used in this article are screenshots from the original infographic, available below and on the OC Register web resources.
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